The Board of Directors for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) is seeking nominations and applications for the role of Executive Director (ED). As AACF deepens its commitment to the welfare of all of Arkansas’s children and vulnerable communities, this new ED will lead the team into a new era of policy advocacy, research, programming and community partnerships.
Reporting to the Board and leading a team of 15 staff members, the Executive Director will create a vision for AACF that embodies their legacy of groundbreaking change and improving the lives and well-being of Arkansas’s children and families, reducing racial disparities across the state. The ED will empower and guide the team in elevating relationships with policymakers and nonprofit and community leaders and providing robust data and analysis to ensure better lives for Arkansas’s children and families. They will also partner closely with development and policy team members to steward and build relationships with national funders and engage local donors and work with the Board to ensure the financial health and sustainability for the organization. The ED will support and contribute to a working culture that is collaborative, cohesive, and effective, and lead the team as they continue to embed race equity in all its internal and external work.
The ideal candidate believes in a vision for an Arkansas that nurtures, educates, and empowers children and ensures the conditions in which all families can thrive across the state. They will be able to translate complex ideas into a compelling and inspiring vision, and will bring a background related to the health and welfare of children and families. They will have at least 8 years of experience leading or managing teams in nonprofit organizations as well as experience in fundraising with institutional funders and budget management. The ideal candidate will possess a deep understanding of the issues facing Arkansas’s children and families and will approach all of this work with a refined equity analysis, particularly with regard to race and class equity.
We are particularly interested in applicants who have lived experiences in the deep south, in Black, Latine, AAPI and Indigenous communities, in working-poor communities and other identities that provide them with a finely tuned understanding of why AACF’s work is so crucial to the well-being of Arkansas’s children and families.
AACF is partnered with Monday Morning Consultants on this search. Please see the end of this document for details on how to apply and/or nominate a colleague for this role.
ABOUT ARKANSAS ADVOCATES
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families (AACF) was founded in 1977 by a group of prominent Arkansans who believed that children needed an “independent force to provide information and education to parents and citizens about our state’s policies toward children and families.” For 45 years, AACF has provided leadership, research, and advocacy to promote wide-ranging reforms that have improved the lives of Arkansas’s children.
The mission of AACF is to ensure that all children and their families have the resources and opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives and to realize their full potential. To carry out its mission, AACF serves as a voice for children at the Arkansas State Capitol and in Washington, D.C., gathers and analyzes data to support public policy that serves all children and families, and organizes coalitions of diverse groups to drive change across the state.
AACF has been a dynamic and effective voice for Arkansas’s children and families, guided by a vision calling for equity for all children. AACF’s work spans all policy areas impacting Arkansas’s children and families, including child welfare, economic security, COVID-19 response, early childhood, education, health, hunger, immigrant children and families, juvenile justice, tax and budget, and racial equity. Learn more about these policy areas at www.aradvocates.org/issues.
In all of this work, AACF’s racial equity focus strives to align mission and stated values with organizational practices and programs. It recognizes that structural inequity has been embedded in our national and state culture and policies and has had a lasting effect, as seen today in disparities in children’s outcomes across race and many other identities. AACF believes in intentionally engaging diverse perspectives throughout its work and is committed to amplifying the voices and wisdom of those most directly affected by systemic oppression, with a focus on building a more equitable and inclusive Arkansas to truly serve every child and family.
Read more about AACF’s history and work at www.aradvocates.org.
CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES FACING THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
AACF imagines this new ED to be a dynamic leader who energizes AACF’s diverse set of stakeholders to rally around children and the most vulnerable people across the state. More specifically, the new ED will face the following challenges and opportunities:
Lead in creating and sharing an inspiring vision for the strategy and direction of AACF
- In partnership with the Board and staff, lead the development of a new strategic plan that aligns with AACF’s values and vision
- Ensure that racial equity is embedded and expressed in AACF’s strategy and vision for the future and carried throughout all programing
- Engage and support the AACF Board of Directors in ensuring their effective governance and support of the organization
Elevate relationships with nonprofit and community partners and policymakers across Arkansas
- Engage existing partners while initiating relationships with organizations, community leaders, and policymakers in urban, suburban and rural communities across the state
- Cultivate collaborative relationships with legislators to secure support for policies that prioritize Arkansas’s children and families
- Represent AACF’s vision and identity in public relationships, including engaging local and state media
Lead fundraising efforts and ensure financial sustainability
- Serve as primary liaison to the national funder community, partnering with policy staff to build and steward relationships and write grant proposals and reports
- Maintain and expand relationships with national and local philanthropic partners
- Partner with senior leadership to oversee budget and maintain the financial health of the organization
Lead the team in creating innovative opportunities to grow AACF’s policy impact
- Identify opportunities to champion policy changes that improve the lives and well being of Arkansas’s children and families, with a particular focus on reducing racial disparities
- Ensure a thoughtful and robust challenge to potentially detrimental policies being levied during the legislative session
Drive team cohesion and effectiveness
- Increase cross-team collaboration and leverage an interdisciplinary working culture to drive efficient and impactful output
- Partner with senior leadership on organizational operations, including supporting ongoing work to ensure equitable internal policies and practices
- Supervise team of directors and lead management of the entire AACF team
- Ensure effective organizational systems are aligned with AACF’s values, including racial equity and inclusion
- Model a fun, caring team culture and create opportunities for connection between teammates and colleagues across role, geographic, and cultural backgrounds
IDEAL QUALIFICATIONS & CHARACTERISTICS OF THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
It is clear that no one person will embody each of the qualifications listed below. Given that, we hope that the new ED brings the majority of these to the role.
- At least 8 years of senior leadership experience, including familiarity with nonprofit working culture and goals
- A passion for improving the ways in which policy impacts children and families through issues such as child welfare, early childhood education, public health, and race equity policy
- An authentic, personal and professional commitment to racial equity, with demonstrated experience supporting and leading teams in integrating a racial equity lens into programs and practice
- Experience managing senior-level leaders, delegating responsibility, sharing knowledge and building cohesive teams
- Experience building strong relationships, with the ability to find commonality across difference, ideally including with community leaders and legislators or policymakers
- Ability to communicate complex concepts and policy ideas in compelling and understandable ways to a diverse audience
- A successful track record of engaging with institutional funders, including foundations or government
- Experience managing an organizational or departmental budget and ensuring financial health of an organization or program
- Ability to lead with integrity and compassion and support a healthy working environment
- The ability to travel around the state, and on occasion, nationally for conferences and funder meetings, and be available for some evening and weekend events
Salary: The salary range for this role is $140,000 – $155,000.
Location: Little Rock, with the flexibility to work outside of the office up to 50% of the time.
Benefits: AACF’s benefits include health and dental coverage, a 6% employer 401K contribution, an optional HSA with employer contribution, life insurance, long-term disability, annual leave of 15-22 days based on tenure, sick leave, flex time, 10 holidays, and sabbatical leave after 6 years of service.
Monday Morning Consultants is leading this search on behalf of AACF. Please send a resume and cover letter/personal statement to apply@MondayMorningConsultants.com. Please reach out to Erica Nicole Griffin (firstname.lastname@example.org), Callie Carroll (email@example.com) or Jamie Joanou (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions or nominations.